Softball closes regular season with split at Tufts

Jolie Fujita at the plate (Photo by
Jolie Fujita at the plate (Photo by

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team came within two innings of a perfect regular season, but the host Tufts University Jumbos staged a late comeback to earn a split with the Judges in the regular-season finale for both teams today. The Judges wind up the regular season with a 13-1 record, while the Jumbos finish at 15-3.

Game was one an excellent pitcher's duel between Brandeis' Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) and Tufts' Kristina Haghdan and. Haghdan had a perfect game into the sixth and Goldman gave up just three hits through five innings.

Brandeis junior Alyssa Renskers (Duarte, Calif. / Duarte) spoiled Haghdan's bid at perfection when she hit a one-out single to third base in the top of the sixth. Tufts threw away a bunt and then Haghdan walked a batter loading the bases. On a 3-2 pitch with two outs, Brandeis junior SS Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) laced the ball into right-center scoring three runs. She then came across when rookie Alex Cohen (West Palm Beach, Fla./Benjamin School) singled giving the Judges a 4-0 lead.

Tufts sisters Josie and Mia Steinberg broke up Goldman's shutout in the bottom of the sixth with a triple by Josie followed by a single from Mia.

Game one featured some tremendous defense. After Mia Steinberg singled with one out in the fourth for Tufts, Brandeis junior Marley Felder (Miami, Fla / American Heritage) snared a ball at second base that might have got into the gap off the bat of Jumbo Reegan Coleman. Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Tufts' Rachel Moore drilled a ball to deep center field seemingly over the head of Judge senior Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence), who ran it down and made the catch. In the top of the sixth when Haghdan was still perfect, Della Volpe chased down a pop-up in shallow right to keep it going.

Goldman improved to 7-0 with the game-one win, allowing five hits and one run with 8 K's. Haghdan took the loss, though not one of the four runs she allowed was earned. Mia Steinberg had two hits in the opener for the hosts. The win was Brandeis' 13th in a row, the second-longest in program history.

In the second contest, Brandeis built a 3-1 lead. Sophomore outfielder Lily Medici (New City, N.Y. / Clarkstown North) brought home the first two runs with singles in the second and fourth innings. The Judges scored an unearned run on rookie Haley Nash's (Delmar, N.Y. / Bethlehem Central) base hit in the fifth. Della Volpe had scored Tufts' first run in the first inning after a one-out single. Josie Steinberg singled her to third, and then they executed a double-steal with Della Volpe scoring when Brandeis made an error during the rundown on Steinberg.

Cohen, the Judges starter, had allowed just one run through five innings. However, after Josie Steinberg doubled to lead off the sixth, the Brandeis defense, which had made several nice plays during the day, made errors on back-to-backs plays leading to six Jumbo runs being all unearned. Moore and Michelle Adelman hit RBI singles before Della Volpe opened the game up for the Jumbos with her second home run of the season to left field.

Sophia DiCocco, who had come on in relief of starter Kristi Van Meter, finished off the Judges for her ninth win of the year. She went 3.1 innings allowing four hits and one unearned run. Della Volpe was 2 for 4 with three rbis and two runs in game two. Josie Steinberg had three hits.

Cohen was a tough-luck loser for the Judges in the circle, with just one of the seven runs she allowed being earned. She struck out seven. Rothenberg joined Medici with two hits for Brandeis.

The Judges, who just missed turning in the fourth undefeated regular season across all programs in school history, entered the doubleheader ranked second in New England. They will now wait a couple of weeks to see if they will be able to participate in the NCAA tournament. Tufts heads to the NESCAC tournament against Williams next weekend, where they will get another chance to spoil an unbeaten season.

(information taken from a Tufts press release)